Daring to Begin
It all started at Connecticut College. It’s a small school with about 2300 students. While I was there I felt like I wanted to do events. I never thought it would be a career or anything. I didn’t even realize it was something people got paid for. So, I started producing variety shows, open-mics and jumped into anything that felt right.
My friend Molly, who worked at MTV, helped me get an internship. At that time, I still didn't think the people behind the scenes - like at the Video Music Awards - were getting paid. I just didn’t see how it as a profession. It wasn't until I finished my internship experience that I realized I could pursue this as a full-time gig and make real money.
Flash forward to graduation, when I got back to New York. I was applying for jobs and remember being so hungry to be in the communications and event space. I interviewed at a couple places and really put myself out there. Then a friends of mine that I met while interning at MTV called me and said they were working at the Rachael Ray show now. They needed some help, and wanted me to interview that day. I went, interviewed and started working on the spot.
"I’d like to be the electric connection between lots of strong creative people.”
From there, it was all about connections. While I enjoyed producing television, I really wanted to produce events. Another friend of mine knew Maneesh from MKG, who specialized in events. He helped me get an interview. And again, the first day I walked in, the director of production at the time said, “Oh good! You’re here.” She wrote down an address and sent me on my way. It was a load-in for Mariah Carey.
Keep in mind, I don’t know who my coworkers are, and it’s a super busy scene. People are moving stuff in and preparing for the event later that evening. I’m asking everyone, “Are you from MKG?” No. “Are you from MKG?” No. Finally I find someone who hands me a staple gun and tells me to climb up a ladder and start stapling a curtain to the columns. I thought, “Sure, Why not? I don’t know if this looks right, but I’m going to keep doing it.” At this point, no one still knows who I am. Ha!
When I started at MKG I was Maneesh’s assistant. But, it was a foot in the door! I told Maneesh I wasn’t looking to be an assistant forever. I wanted to learn. I was really really aggressive about it and moved out of that position in about 7 months. The rest is history. Now I’m an account manager and do work for clients like Dockers, Heineken and more.
Growing up in the Bronx I went to public school and then made the sudden transition to private school. Along the way, I quickly realized I had to figure out how to be flexible and adapt to my surroundings. Thinking back, especially in school and college, I learned that you don’t need a roadmap. All you need to do is go with the flow. That education stayed with me. I bring that perspective to each new experience and as I go I gain more and more confidence to try new things because I’m comfortable with the unknown.
Most of the time I aspire to be a Jedi or Ninja. But seriously, I think the end game - the title that will be on the office door - will be Managing Director. That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. It’s one thing to be a creative director. It has certain leadership qualities that are awesome. But, there’s something about the power of inspiration. How can I get lots of people to feel like they can be creative directors? What would that be like? I’d like to be the electric connection between lots of strong creative people. I’ve been thinking about what it takes to get there in terms of my own education and experience in the industry.
QWhat does travelling mean to you?
Travel symbolizes success. When I say that, I don’t mean it’s all I’m working for... I mean it in the sense that I know my life is going in the right direction when I’m traveling. Success is the ability to experience things firsthand and I do that best when I’m traveling.
QEarliest Travel Memory
We were on our way to Canada and I fell asleep. I woke up and looked out the window. There was a castle below us and I thought I could walk out of the plane and onto the clouds. I thought I could walk right into the castle. Of course I was dreaming, but it was such a vivid dream. It felt completely possible and I remember falling in love with flying from that moment.
New York. The variety in culture, food, people, and style is like no other. There are so many areas to explore. Plus the energy here is ridiculously infectious.
QFavorite mode of transportation?
Bicycle. Preferably a single speed with a fix gear conversion and front / back breaks. There’s something beautiful and freeing about being in the city on a bike and watching it go by. There’s also the physical benefit, similar to running, where you take that high and match it with... let’s say your listening to Oddissee or something. You can’t beat it.
Spotify. I can’t leave the house without my tunes. As long as I can have my music I’m good.
It depends on my mood and how I think the day is going to be. Some days I’ll listen to a combination of Major Lazer, Kendrick Lamar and Little Dragon. Other days I might queue up Twin Shadows or some Roots Reggae.
Whatever you’ve packed in your suitcase, take a quarter of it out. You don’t need that much stuff. Think about where you’re going, what you’re going to do there and what the weather will be like. You’ll get there with one bag as carry on. It’s more efficient and a better way to travel. Travel isn’t about an itinerary or doing super luxurious things. It’s about being immersed in something else. Curating is better than accumulating. Edit out the unnecessary and only take what you really need.